Victim describes South Baltimore robbery

suspect's family says wrong men charged

(Baltimore Police Department )
March 27, 2012|By Peter Hermann

Lauren Spates, a 27-year-old former cheerleader for the Ravens, says she knows who attacked her and her husband early Saturday at South Baltimore's Clement and Covington streets. She looked long and hard, she said, knowing her identification "would be the only thing that would get them."

In an interview on Tuesday, Spates said, "Believe me, I’ll never forget that man’s face when he asked me to take my rings off my finger."

The attack early Saturday in which Spates and her new husband were robbed at gunpoint -- she of her engagement ring and wedding band, worth a combined $22,000 -- has stunned the residential neighborhood north of Fort Avenue.

Spates detailed the attack, saying she complied slowly but deliberately, hoping somebody would interrupt the gunman. “I thought, somebody has got to get a pizza delivered,” she said. "Somebody will have to take their dog out. Somebody has got to walk by. But no one did."

Police charged Julien Rosaly, 22, and Nicholes Maultsby, 20, who share the same rowhouse in the 1100 block of Leadenhall Street, near M&T Bank Stadium, with armed robbery, assault and several illegal gun counts. Both are being held without bail.

Relatives, however, say Spates picked the wrong suspects. Rosaly’s mother, Gloria Alvarez, 41, said that the two men were not together this weekend. She said Maultsby was at a girl’s house in Sharp-Leadenhall until 2 a.m. and that her son was at Maria D’s on Light Street. She said surveillance video shows him there from 12:47 a.m. to 1:42 a.m.

“I think it’s a little bit of mistaken identify,” said Alvarez, who lives in Essex, noting the victims described her son as a black male, when he is Hispanic. “I don’t know why these people picked him.”

Police said they have not found the small black revolver or any of the items taken from the couple; Rosaly’s aunt said detectives searched her rowhouse on Leadenhall Street, where both suspects live, and found nothing.

The manager of Maria D’s, Billy Diakokominos, said he watched the video Monday might at the request of relatives and recognized Rosaly, who he knows as “Rico,” sitting at a window table during the time of the attack about 15 blocks away.

Diakokominos whose father owns the restaurant, said Rosaly — who he also knows by his tattoo of lips on the left side of his neck — is a regular customer who comes in nearly every day. “We reviewed the tape and have him sitting there with a couple of kids,” the manager said.

Diakokominos said police never stopped by to ask about the tapes. Alvarez said her son told the arresting officer that he had been at the restaurant. “I know arresting officers go check out their alibis and they didn’t even do that,” Alvarez said.

Lauren Spates said that she and her husband, Daniel Wieser, were returning from Ryleighs Oyster House on Cross Street in Federal Hill, after having watched two college basketball playoff games and dining on a grilled Caesar salad and blackened chicken.

They left about 1 a.m. and headed home. Spates said she paused when they reached Covington and Clement streets, which can be quiet even though it’s one block off the more heavily traveled Fort Avenue, which is lined with bars open to 2 a.m.

“We saw these two guys on little BMX bikes,” Spates said. “They were riding, but not with a purpose. They were trolling the streets. I got to feel uncomfortable.” She said she picked up the pace, still talking to her husband, but then turned to find “he wasn’t there.”

Spates said she heard a muffled voice telling Wieser to get on the ground. She said she saw a man holding the black revolver in the palm of his hand, and saw him press the weapon to the back of her husband’s head. The second man came up to her, she said, forced her to the ground and said, “I want your jewelry, [expletive]bitch,” according to the police report.

The victim said the man tried to pull her rings off her fingers but failed, and made her do it. The attackers rode off on their bicycles, police said, with the rings, a wallet, two cell phones and other jewelry, including Spates’ earrings.

During the attack, Spates said she made sure to study the faces of the assailants, mainly because she was angry over losing her rings. She recalled when Wieser popped the question — a year ago in Della Notte, the Little Italy restaurant where they had their first date, and how they had met, both cheerleaders for the Ravens during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons.

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